OT: Steven Brust

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Sat Aug 23 16:10:45 EDT 2003


On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 18:07:05 -0700 (PDT), Ven wrote:

>Its a long time since I first read the Phoenix
>Guards but irrc I did find the style rather hard
>work and persevered for the sake of the plot and
>characters, even though I wasn't too sure about
>them either. After a couple more Vlad books,
>probably at the end of some Brust binge, I read
>it again...... this time it was funny, the time
>after that funnier still. Brust is playing with
>his readers and I'd joined in. 
>
>Thats just my idiosyncratic reaction to TPG. I
>suspect that (can I say this without meaning
>something quite different in lit speak?) any
>strong style is bound to alienate some readers
>and attempts at conversion are futile (see my
>discussion with Melissa, Hallie et al on (the
>still odious to me) Jane Austen.

The funny thing is that when I read your first paragraph, I thought, "well,
what do you expect from someone who doesn't like Jane Austen?" !!!  Anyway,
it was a funny moment when I got to the second paragraph.  I just finished
_Pride and Prejudice_ again yesterday, in solidarity with my non-reading
friend who is slogging through it.  This time I tried to imagine what it
would be like to read it without actively enjoying the style...very tedious.
But I'd take that further and say that everyone has something that kills a
book dead as far as they're concerned--something which is practically
impossible to get past even if you want to get past it.  Maybe it's a
certain kind of character or a certain setting or certain assumptions on the
part of the author.  I'd give my own examples if I could think of any right
now, but I can't.  The point is, as you say, that they're idiosyncratic and
therefore not necessarily a black mark against the author (though I think
sometimes they are).  But now I just forgot if I had a point with all this.
It's been a long day and I've only been awake for 5 hours of it.

I was thinking the other day about Steven Brust and so forth--people who
like Vlad but not the Guards and vice versa, people who love _Freedom &
Necessity_ and Vlad but not the Guards, all those endless permutations.
He's like the poster child for author/reader interaction and reading
repertoire.  He's good even when you don't enjoy what he's doing.

I still haven't read _Lord of Castle Black_ and I'm starting to think bad
thoughts about my library as they have not delivered on Martha Wells either.
I'm not quite willing to say that all three volumes of _Viscount_ should be
available before reading any, but I have this feeling that it's going to
seem more complete when I can read it that way, even though the first book
was fairly complete in itself.  The young ladies discussing how they would
win the hearts of young men by distinguishing themselves in combat was
priceless.

Melissa Proffitt

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